Monday, September 25

Trade unionist appeals to GPS to reconsider move of joining PN


Andrew Lo

KUCHING (Nov 22): Sarawak Bank Employees Union (SBEU) chief executive officer Andrew Lo is appealing to the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to reconsider its stand in joining Perikatan Nasional (PN) to form the next federal government.

According to him, it would be better for the state’s ruling coalition to side with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its allies in protecting its ‘treasured legacy’.

Lo, a former Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak secretary, said he was compelled to issue a political statement because of obvious reasons, including ‘for the sake of the workers’.

“In my career as a trade unionist, I have always shied away from politics and making political comments.

“This is for the simple act that workers in the country in general, and those in Sarawak in particular, are from all races with different political leanings and religious beliefs. The events (happening) after polling has compelled me to comment.”

Lo said the SBEU, in particular, would want moderate policies and in this regard, it could not condone any ‘ultra-religious beliefs’.

“What matters to us most is a progressive, prosperous country with a flourishing economy so that the workers can have decent jobs and wages. The voters, including workers, have made their choice in the recently-concluded GE15 (15th general election) – for better or for worse.

“PH won the largest number of parliamentary seats, at 82, but not enough to form the federal government. It would need the support of other parties or coalitions.

“By international parliamentary convention and democratic norms, the leader of the coalition with the highest number (currently PH) should be invited to convince the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that he commands the majority of MPs.

“Until that is futile, then only leaders of PN, the next highest coalition, should be given that opportunity,” stressed Lo.

“It is therefore very sad that the chairman of GPS (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg) who is also the Premier of Sarawak, has jumped the gun by proudly announcing that he has agreed with PN, Barisan Nasional (BN) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) to form the next federal government.

“It’s hard to believe that he (Abang Johari) has the consensus amongst many other MPs in Sarawak who are of other religious beliefs, that Sarawak is so eager to be in a federal government where the biggest party (therein) is Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).

“Sarawakian voters have consistently rejected PAS in every election. Surely this is not the consensus of fellow Sarawakian workers who have always been moderate in our multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society. Thus, we call upon all Sarawakian MPs, regardless of their political leanings, to protect our treasured legacy,” he pointed out.